Away Atmosphere or Home Spirit?

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Alex Antoniono

The State High Little Lions play at Memorial Field with the student section and marching band cheering them on.

Emily Ishler, Staff Writer

Games are the biggest part of playing a sport, and while both away and home games are equally important, which do athletes prefer? There are a number of factors that determine whether student-athletes prefer one type of game to another. Student attendance at games, the pressure that’s created, and the preparation for away games all go into consideration.

For some sports, there is a more noticeable difference in the number of students and fans that show up to home games as opposed to away games. Take the State High football games, for example. There are at least 400 students that go to each home game and more than 1,000 fans overall, while at away games, there is a maximum of about 10 students who show up and about 200 fans overall.

All home games are either right by the high school or a couple of minutes away at Memorial Field, making them more accessible to students in comparison to away games. Home games have the appeal of being more convenient and having a student section cheering the teams on is definitely something that athletes enjoy. But with all these students coming to the home games, student-athletes feel more pressure. They know the people in the stands, who are most likely their friends watching them as they play, seeing how they’ll perform.

“I think it depends on the player, but I know a lot of my teammates play a lot worse at home because they feel so much pressure by people watching them that they know,” said junior Emma Zeman, who plays for the girls’ varsity volleyball team.

While there is more pressure, Zeman enjoys playing for the crowd at home games. But on the other hand, she also enjoys away games, “[…] because it’s cool to travel and go to other schools.”

But for students who don’t necessarily have a large student section like field hockey, the student section doesn’t play a hand in whether or not they like home or away games more.

Junior Caitlyn Keiter plays on the field hockey team and shared her preference.

“I prefer home games. It depends on who shows up, but usually [there’s] not [pressure] because there’s not really a student section,” Keiter said.

Going to away games that are far from the school requires athletes to leave school before the end of the day which often results in them having to make up classwork and sometimes tests.

Junior Stephen Scourtis is on the varsity football team and explained that this is a reason why he prefers home games. “[Home games are] also a shorter drive so it’s more convenient we don’t have to skip as much school […] today we have to leave at 1:00 so I have to organize stuff and […] it’s a little more stressful as far as missing classwork,” Scourtis said.

Most student-athletes enjoy both the away and home games somewhat equally, but they all have different reasons that shape their preferences.

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